Nabin K. Malakar, Ph.D.

I am a computational physicist working on societal applications of machine-learning techniques.

Research Links

My research interests span multi-disciplinary fields involving Societal applications of Machine Learning, Decision-theoretic approach to automated Experimental Design, Bayesian statistical data analysis and signal processing.


Interested about the picture? Autonomous experimental design allows us to answer the question of where to take the measurements. More about it is here...


I addition to the research, I also like to hike, bike, read and play with water color.

Thanks for the visit. Please feel free to visit my Weblogs.

Welcome to Please visit again.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Presented at IGARSS 2014, Quebec, Canada

This week I attended the joint International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS 2014) / 35th Canadian Symposium on Remote Sensing (35th CSRS).  The symposium theme was “Energy and our Changing Planet”.

ON Friday I presented my work on:
Assessing MODIS C006 urban corrections using the High Resolution Dragon AERONET Network

The slides are embedded below for viewing:

Sunday, July 13, 2014

An Interview with Dr. Churamani Gaire

Dr. Churamani Gaire, from Syangja, Nepal,  shares fond memories of the school days, teachers and mentors. He also shares his experience in joining the semiconductor industry as he is currently working as Principal Process Engineer at GLOBALFOUNDRIES.  It is our pleasure to have him in my frame of reference.

Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in an economically subaltern farming family in Kuwakot-8, Syangja. I went to local school (Now Bhanu Higher Secondary School, Chaughera, Syangja), where I learned Nepali and English alphabets from my teachers Durga Pangeni and Hari Bdr Ale, respectively. I completed high school from Keware (Now Bal Siddha Higher Secondary School), Syangja. I then continued my undergraduates at Prithvi Narayan College, Pokhara and Masters in Physics at Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur. Having to answer this question makes me a bit nostalgic of all the fond memories.
My research interest is in the nanotechnology. My professional profile is in LinkedIn:
My research activities are disseminated in various journals and conference proceedings and are available for public consumption:
How did you decide to study physics? Did anyone, in particular, influence you?
I was shy as a child and did not know what I was up to. Growing up, I used to carve tops and toy cars out of wood and play. By high school time, it was clear to me that I was more into mathematics and physical sciences than other subjects. I was privileged to have great teachers like Bhoj Raj Gurung and Babu Ram Sharma in High School, Namo Narayan Yadav, Pabitra Mani Poudel and Binay Kumar Jha in Undergraduates; Devendra Raj Mishra and Shekhar Gurung in my Masters. I have the highest regard to Babu Ram Sharma, Binay Kumar Jha and Shekhar Gurung for their support I got during my high school and college times. While I recall these great names today, it is Guru-Purnima, and I salute these great teachers and mentors on this occasion.
What strategies did you use to be successful in college? Please give out some tips on how to become a successful student in Nepal?
My strategy was to attend all the classes, go through the subject material more than once, note down the areas of weakness and focus on those items in the next iteration of study. In my opinion, one has to develop his/her own style. There is no universally applicable strategy per se. However, my biggest tip to the Nepalese students would be to not waste their time by going to political pep-rallies and become puppets of political parties.
Could you also describe your academic and research journey in USA? What are the challenges for Nepalese students?
I started my graduate study from University at Albany in theoretical physics. I later transferred to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), due to a better match to my academic interest. I conducted my graduate research in nanoscale growth and characterization of semiconducting materials. After my graduation, I continued my research at RPI and developed strategy to grow near single crystal semiconductor material starting from amorphous substrate suitable for low-cost energy application. 
As regard to the challenges, it's the initial first few months when one is trying to adjust with so many new things: new place, new education system and some language barrier. Back in the country, our focus was more on theoretical than experimental physics. So, if you want to pursue theoretical physics in USA, I think you can immediately choose a research group and start contributing towards your graduate dissertation. However, if you want to pursue experimental physics, it takes one-to-two semesters before you can contribute towards your graduate dissertation. Again, it varies from person to person. I believe that Nepalese graduates are capable of competing with international graduates.
Could you please suggest the practical applications of your research outcomes? Do you have a favorite research paper (written by yourself or somebody else)?
My research was about nano-heteroepitaxial growth of near single crystal semiconductor material starting from amorphous substrate. This is applicable in substrate fabrication for low-costing solar cells. I use epitaxial growth method in my current job to create individual transistor units used in computer chips. My publications done during my graduate school are in the public domain and are available for your viewing pleasure as I mentioned earlier. Instead of me saying which of my articles I like, I will leave that option to the public to judge. However, I shall say some of my papers are cited more than the others by the researchers in the field.
How is your experience in joining the Industry? Was there any culture shock for an academician? Or shall a PhD holder expect any difference?
Definitely there is a bit of culture shock. I find rather interesting differences in academia and high-tech industry. Industry has more stringent requirements for deadlines. Your decisions can make immediate financial impact on the order of 10s of millions of dollars. To this end, I would say both the risk and reward are much higher in the high tech industry. And whether you have a PhD or not does not make much difference in the industry, your abilities are judged through whether you can solve problems efficiently and precisely and deliver the solution or not. Nevertheless, the rigorous training process that you have gone through during your PhD definitely prepares you for the rigorousness required in the industry.
A general perception is that industry experience is very demanding. Could you please give us a snapshot of your one day in office?
Yes, you are correct that the industry is very demanding due to short shelf-life of technology. One has to constantly update the new things that are in the market, and stay up to date with the technology challenges and solutions.
I work in semiconductor foundry and own a critical process responsible for transistor performance. On my typical day, I have to fulfill three kinds of major responsibilities and generally attend/prepare for 5-6 meetings a day to:
  • Ensure that there are no problems in my process step from both process and hardware aspects. If there are problems, resolve immediately.
  • Ensure that internal and external customer demands are met. Internal customers include integration and device team who are constantly looking for new processes and recipes to improve the overall flow. The external customers are real customers who I have to engage time to time and ensure they are comfortable working with us.
  • Ensure that we offer improved process to our internal and external customers. We constantly conduct experiments to improve our process. We analyze/interpret data and feed-forward the learning to next cycle, a process we call “continuous improvement process”. 
What have you found to be the toughest aspect of being a physicist, if any?
The job hunting was the toughest part as a physicist.
Which of the skills are strongly recommended for the job hunters in this field?
In my opinion, strong communication skill, data analysis/interpretation and decision making ability are some of the key items recruiters are looking in new hires.
Sir, since I am not a professional interviewer, would you like to add anything else? Thank you for your time!
I am afraid your questions are more professional than my answers. I commend you for your effort. And I wish you for your continuous success as blogger in the future. Thanks very much.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

An Interview with Dr. Dipak Rimal

Dr. Dipak Rimal recently defended his PhD in experimental nuclear physics, and joined a post-doctoral research associate position at the University of Florida. He was born and raised in Baigundhura VDC in south-eastern part of Nepal. We are pleased to have Dr. Rimal in my frame of reference!

Please tell us about yourself, and your journey to USA for higher education.
I was born and raised in Baigundhura VDC in south-eastern part of Nepal. My father was a local educator, and had a great appreciation for science and technology. His constant motivation and inspiration lead me to pursue higher education in science. After passing the School Leaving Certificate (SLC) exam from Shree Amar Madhyamik Vidhyalaya in 1995, I went to Birat Science College, Biratnagar to study science (I. Sc.). I then went to Tri-Chandra College for Bachelor's degree. Since I graduated as a physics major with minor in chemistry and math, I got admitted to the Central Department of Physics (CDP), Tribhuvan University for M. Sc. in Physics. After graduating, I taught undergraduate level physics courses at Xavier Academy, Lazimpat for two years. In the fall of 2007, I moved to Miami after I got admitted into the PhD program at the Department of Physics at Florida International University. I recently graduated from FIU with PhD in physics specializing in experimental nuclear physics.
Could you please describe your PhD research in plain English. (Einstein once said, “If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.”)
My PhD research was in the field of experimental nuclear physics. My research was primarily focused on expanding our understanding of the electromagnetic (EM) form factors of the proton, the positively charged core of the hydrogen atom. The EM form factors of the proton are the most fundamental observables, which encode information about the charge and magnetization distribution inside it. Even though the proton has been studied for several decades, a lot remains to be understood about the electromagnetic form factors in order to completely understand the structure of the proton. A significant discrepancy exists between the results from unpolarized and polarized electron scattering measurements of the EM form factors. This discrepancy casts a serious doubt on our understanding of the proton electromagnetic form factors and also on several other observables derived from these form factors (for e.g. proton charge radius). I don’t want to go into details here but plausible theoretical explanations for the cause of this discrepancy have been proposed. Rigorous experimental tests are necessary to make a definitive statement about these explanations. In short, my research was focused on the experimental test of the proposed theoretical explanations.Our team produced an intense matter/anti-matter mixed beam (electron/positron) from a 5.6 GeV primary electron beam at Jefferson Lab. Ordinarily, the matter and anti-matter particles would annihilate releasing the energy in the form of photon. To keep the particles intact, the electrons and positrons were spread over a distance of a few centimeters. The mixed matter/anti-matter beam was then scattered from a liquid hydrogen target, kept at the center of a giant spectrometer known as CEBAF Large Acceptance Spectrometer (CLAS). The elastically scattered electron, positron, and the proton were detected in CLAS. The detected particles were then analyzed to compare the positron-proton and electron-proton interactions.
What are the social applications of your research/ short-term or long-term impact of your research to the society.
My research, being a fundamental science research, may not have immediate social applications. However, in the long run it will reshape the way the electron scattering data is analyzed. My research was intended to test theoretical explanations for the discrepancy between different methods of measuring the charge distribution inside proton. These results will help make a definitive statement about the explanation for a decade long scientific puzzle.
How was your graduate school experience? (Specifically skill(s) you needed to sharpen etc.)
My graduate school experience at FIU has been memorable one. Since we had a lot of fellow Nepali graduate students in the department, the physics department at FIU felt like a second home. I feel lucky that I had an excellent advisor who provided me an opportunity to work in a large international collaboration comprising of scientists from all over the world. I had to learn UNIX/LINUX operating systems, and learn programming languages. I also had to sharpen my problem solving and experimental skills.
Please share few useful tips that you wish you were told when you applied for PhD.
I wish I had learned at least one programming language before I applied for PhD. I wish I was told to learn problem-solving rather than memorizing physics derivations.
Where do you want to be in the next 5 years? What are your hobbies, and spare time activities?
Umm! This one is the hardest one. I don’t really know! I just started working as a post-doctoral research associate at University of Florida. I will be working on MINERvA neutrino experiment at Fermilab to investigate neutrino-nucleus interactions. Let’s see how next 5 years unfold but I definitely want to see myself in a pretty good shape in terms of research. Regarding hobbies, I enjoy visiting new places. I follow world news to keep myself up to date with the recent happenings around the globe. I am also a big time sports fan. In the spare time, I enjoy watching professional leagues and college sports.